Mostly better

I’ve been dragging for a few days, my energy level is still down, and I have a devastating cough, but I’m back at school and feeling about 200% better than I was. Now I just have to catch up. ๐Ÿ™‚ First priority is email correspondence; second is classwork; third is Manila Envelope. I’ve let the app languish too long while I stumble around with figuring out how to call Cocoa methods, and it’s time to make some steps.

Turnabout is fair play

A funny little judo response to all the fundamentalists who burn Harry Potter books because they promote witchcraft: “Harry Potter fans warn against dangerous effects of Bible.” One excerpt:

“Reading the Bible teaches children to believe in the supernatural,” said one English Literature academic from Oxford University, Lewis Williams. “The tales of Jesus turning water into wine are fairly harmless, but there is a serious risk of children drowning if they try to walk on water,” he said. “And the chance of serious bodily harm isn’t exactly minimised by that whole ‘resurrection-from-the-dead’ story either.”

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What color is your Kleenex?

Urrgh. I feel like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer. Yep, folks, it’s that nasty cold/sinus infection that I’ve been avoiding all season. Aside from the pretty colors when I stand up too fast, it’s a very unpleasant experience. Expect minimal, and highly grumpy blogging today.

ยฟQuiere Ser Presidente de Argentina?

From Fortune Magazine: “Are You Management Material? Large South American country looking for dynamic leader… No previous experience required. Understanding of Spanish, global credit system a plus.”

My favorite: “Do you have any experiences that might prepare you for the turmoil, upheaval, subterfuge, and stress of being president of Argentina? A: (a) I was briefly a member of Destiny’s Child. (b) No.”
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Where have I been?

I’ve been quiet the last few days. Partly it was company (my inlaws came into town Friday and left yesterday); partly a class I took last week. Partly it’s gearing up for my last semester. And partly it’s making sure I’m focusing on the right things.

I’ve spent most of the last month visiting friends and getting my first solo application out to the public. I was getting ready to jump in and add a bunch of new features but I hit some roadblocks. There’s a lot of other things I need to do as well–for instance, the Sloan E-52s need some new arrangements and some new members… I will get work done on Manila Envelope when I can. One thing I’ve found for sure, putting a new API in behind the scenes as a choice is not a transparent thing. There are some serious UI decisions to make.

But at the same time, I have a wife who I’m getting ready to uproot and move across the country for my new job; a father who’s been very ill in the hospital (he’s getting better); a grandfather who just got out of the hospital himself, now on a new regimen of medicine to help him overcome the effects of an undetected stroke; and a bunch of other family who I just made contact with again. There are certain things that take priority hour to hour.

But much less tasty

Tomorrow morning the Galileo probe will take its last photos in a low-altitude flyby of Io. It’s due to crash into Jupiter in early 2003 so it doesn’t accidentally land on Europa, which has the best chance of any of the Jovian moons to contain life, and contaminate it with bacteria. I’m looking forward to seeing the photos; as I’m married to an Italian-American woman, there’s always been something amusing to me about a planet that looks like a pizza from hell.

Grumpy old blogger

I’m home. I have a cold. I’ve looked at Radio 8 and I’m not sure what’s going on yet. It looks really cool, and the UI is much better than in 7, but there’s a little bit of a learning curve. Now I’ll have to figure out how to blog all over again.

New business model: hate your customers

About a month ago, I wrote Universal Music Group to complain about reports that starting in mid 2002, all their CDs would be copy protected using a format that renders them unplayable on Macs and on many CD players. Today I got a response from an automated support email that I’ve posted. I think there are two things in the letter of interest:

  • First, they claim that they hope to include Mac-based “playability” on copy-protected discs, and that they “have not made a commitment” to put copy protection on all their CD releases. This directly contradicts the statement made in Billboard last month.
  • Second, they claim that “unauthorized CD ‘ripping’ leads to illegal Internet distribution of music.”

The second is an interesting and novel claim. Let’s break it apart. First, what does “unauthorized CD ripping” mean? The last time I checked, fair use allows me to make a copy for personal reasons. This blanket “unauthorized” accusation and the copy protection measures that attempt to prevent it are only infringing my fair use rights. Second, how does ripping lead to distribution? Last time I checked, they were two separate acts. Just because I rip one of my CDs to put it on my iPod doesn’t mean I’m going to distribute it on the Internet. I agree that file sharing programs like Napster and KaZaA are designed to facilitate distribution. But ripping? Oh man we’re in trouble if the RIAA goes after that one.

A very worthy Pilgrim

Congratulations to Mark Pilgrim’s DiveIntoMark for receiving the Best Scripting Weblog award in the 2001 Scripting News weblog awards.

After the nominations, I browsed my competition and quickly figured out that this guy was really where it was at, scripting wise. For that matter, so were my other competitors–it’s a complete mystery how I got nominated. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it’s an honor just to have been in the running, and so thanks to Dave and all who voted for me.

Not that I would know

Okay, so my arms have mostly recovered from yesterday’s marathon blog. I’m still thinking about the new iMac, and my conclusion is that they’ve done a fine job of hitting their target market. Not power users, not Linux guys, but the many more people who need a computer to help them get things done. Regarding appearance, it is, as Seal said, very 2001: A Space Odyssey. I also like what “Doc” wrote yesterday from the convention floor: “What seemed to have everyone most fascinated afterwards at the press ‘viewing’ was the shiny metal arm that connects the base to the monitor. It looks like a chrome dildo…”